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Column One: Teachers

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Novice black and white teachers alike find policies associated with affirmative action and minority recruiting objectionable, according to a study by Joseph Wise, a senior administrator for personnel operations in the Orange County, Fla., schools.

Mr. Wise surveyed 116 black and 116 white first-year teachers in the district. A majority of the black teachers said they disliked being identified with such programs, which they thought could impede their careers. White teachers said they believed special minority-recruitment efforts were professionally insulting.

Mr. Wise said he believes people will be more supportive of such programs when they realize that all children benefit from diverse role models.

For copies of the findings, write to Mr. Wise at Orange County Public Schools, P.O. Box 271, Orlando, Fla., 32806.

Teacher candidates at Florida's higher-education institutions performed less well on a test of fundamental knowledge than did potential teachers from out of state and in-state college students.

All in-state college sophomores and prospective teachers from out of state are required to take a basic-skills examination that consists of a written essay along with tests of English, reading, and mathematics.

Sixty-four percent of sophomores who took the test in October 1990, and 59 percent of out-of-state teachers, got passing marks. However, only 52 percent of teacher candidates enrolled in Florida institutions passed.

Though they passed in fewer numbers, teachers moving into the state outperformed the students in all but mathematics.

Minnesota's teacher of the year plans to lobby the state legislature this session to increase education funding.

She'll have plenty of time to do so, because she lost her job last year.

Cathy L. Nelson, chosen last fall for the honor, was laid off last spring from her job as a social-studies teacher at Fridley High School in Fridley, a suburb of the Twin Cities.

The layoff notification last March was her second in two years--he result of a shrinking student population, budgetary constraints, and the seniority system. She had been teaching at the school since 1977.

In June, the district offered her a one-year position, but she decided to ride out her options instead.

Now Ms. Nelson is working as a consultant, but hopes to return to the classroom someday. "If there are jobs for us in May and June, why aren't they there for us in March?" she asks. --kd

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